The Arts, Health and Wellbeing Research Network

The Arts, Health and Wellbeing Research Network is a cross-faculty multidisciplinary initiative at ARU which brings together researchers interested in capturing the broad range of arts and culture where creative tasks and activities have been invoked to support health and wellbeing.

We aim to foster research collaboration across faculties and disciplines.

We run a yearly seminar series featuring both internal and external speakers, as well as running remote and in-person networking events.

Back view of academics sitting on chairs and tables in a seminar room, in a workshop

Photo credit: George Shipley

Why arts for health and wellbeing?

“The practice of using the arts to promote healing and happiness is as old as the arts themselves. For early civilizations, aesthetic beauty in objects or surroundings and the soothing rhythms of words, movement and music contributed to the balance and harmony between bodily systems and environment which was believed to maintain good health.”

– Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), June 2013

Arts, cultural and creative activities can encompass a range of different forms of activity undertaken individually or with others.

The Network embraces an inclusive approach regarding arts and cultural activities, and is open to people with an interest in digital media, poetry, visual arts, music, dance, and drama (live or on screen), as well as film, photography, literature, storytelling, monuments and murals.

Re-Mapping the State of Arts, Health and Wellbeing Research at ARU

Back view of academics sitting at tables in a seminar room, listening to a talk

Photo credit: George Shipley

The Arts, Health and Wellbeing Research Network was formed following the Re-mapping the State of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing Research at ARU event in July 2022, funded by the Health, Performance and Wellbeing research theme.

This cross-faculty event aimed to capture the breadth and depth of arts, health and wellbeing research across the University, as well as provide networking opportunities with a view to forming new cross-disciplinary collaborations.

Fifteen staff members and postgraduate researchers from across the University presented their research, representing a wide range of arts, cultural, and wellbeing activities, and arts therapies.

We also invited independent consultant Dr Emily Bradfield to produce a ‘creative capture’ – a visual summary – of the morning talks, while two Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR) students provided live music throughout the day.

As well as laying the foundations for the Network, this event gave us the opportunity to recognise ARU's strong track record of interdisciplinary working and gaining external funding from Arts Council England, research councils, and other funding bodies for research in the field of arts, performance, health, and wellbeing research.

Celebrating the intersection between health, wellbeing and the arts

Our next in-person networking event for ARU staff will explore the intersection of the arts, health and wellbeing through interactive and creative workshops.